Rovers injury update as issues mount for Jon Dahl Tomasson

·4-min read
Ash Phillips went down with cramp in the second half
Ash Phillips went down with cramp in the second half

Rovers have plenty to consider in their defensive ranks as injuries continue to build up.

They were forced into a change before, and during, the West Bromwich Albion win with Jon Dahl Tomasson left short of options.

Already without Hayden Carter and Sam Barnes, Scott Wharton joined the pair on the sidelines ahead of Sunday’s win.

Wharton has picked up a calf problem which will rule him out for at least the next two matches. The likelihood is that Rovers will look to get Wharton ready for the visit of Stoke City on August 27.

Missing the West Brom win brought to an end a run of 32 consecutive Championship starts for the 24-year-old since returning from his long-term Achilles injury last November.

With Wharton out, 17-year-old Ash Phillips was brought in for his league debut. The teenager started the 4-0 Carabao Cup win over Hartlepool United and was handed his league bow four days later.

After a strong performance, Phillips was forced off in the second half, though Tomasson revealed that was only due to cramp.

The hope is that Phillips will be available for Wednesday night’s trip to face Reading.

Callum Brittain was taken off at half-time against West Brom, but Tomasson also reported good news on the right back who is also expected to be available on Wednesday night.

The withdrawal of Brittain saw John Buckley move to right back, while Tayo Edun, the only defensive cover on the bench, replaced Phillips.

Elsewhere, Carter is also back training, but still a couple of weeks away from pushing for first-team inclusion after a hamstring issue, though Barnes is expected to miss the remainder of the season after sustaining an ACL injury in a behind-closed-doors fixture.

JDT on Ash Phillips: “He played his first game against Hartlepool, a big talent at 17. He got help from his team-mates and Daniel Ayala, he has great leadership. He got cramp and you can't play a central defender with cramp because they could cost a goal. I think he did really well, his family should be really proud.”

JDT on Callum Brittain: “He struggled with the weather, he was not the only boy who complained about the weather. We needed those drinks breaks but hopefully he is okay after the hot weather, he was not the only one. A lot of boys were struggling. He was taken off with exhaustion rather than an injury.”

JDT on Scott Wharton: “I sat here (after Hartlepool) and said we took him off as a precaution but he was okay. I got a surprise after that he wasn't okay. It is disappointing because it is a position that we don't have a lot of defenders. He is not ready and won't be ready for Wednesday or the whole week. We want to get him back as soon as possible, maybe a couple of weeks.”

JDT on Hayden Carter: “He’s training now, he’s building that up so he’s getting closer but he’s not ready yet. Hopefully it will be a positive progress and he can be ready in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Under Tomasson’s scheduling, Rovers will play their home Under-21s fixture at the same time as the first-team.

The reason is to allow players not involved in the matchday squad to still get minutes into their legs.

The visit of Wolves in Premier League 2 was switched to Sunday and kicked off at 2pm.

Rovers were beaten 1-0 at Leyland by an 86th minute goal from Dexter Lembikisa, with Mike Sheron's side still looking for their first points of the season after defeat to Everton in their opening fixture.

Dilan Markanday was scheduled to start the game, having made his home debut, and scored his first Rovers goal, in the Carabao Cup win over Hartlepool.

Markanday, who featured in the game with Everton, complained of a tight hamstring ahead of kick-off, which saw Jalil Saadi start in his place.

Ethan Walker made his first appearance in a Rovers shirt off the bench, with Markanday remaining unused.

Also making his first appearance of the season against Hartlepool was Joe Rankin-Costello.

He lined up at right back for the Under-21s against Wolves but was replaced by Dan Pike before the break having felt tightness in his groin. Rovers hope that was just precautionary.

Adam Wharton took the place of older brother Scott in the matchday squad, with Jake Batty 19th man.

Louie Annesley, who was on the bench against Hartlepool, started for the Under-21s, with Jake Garrett getting another run-out in midfield.